Government closure of Carcross footbridge puzzles local residents

·2 min read

Saturday morning saw a brief kerfuffle of action in Carcross as two Yukon government trucks arrived to barricade access to the footbridge. A closure notice was stapled to the barricade.

Late Monday, government officials wrote that “a recent engineering assessment indicated a risk of potential failure of the bridge given the current water levels. Risks associated with erosion of the bank at the north abutment and floating debris pose risks to the integrity of the bridge that cannot be addressed at this time. The bridge will remain closed until the assessment can be completed.”

No timeframe was indicated, and government officials did not provide any additional information.

A morning klatch of locals hanging around the railway bridge on Monday morning couldn’t understand the decision, shaking their heads with the incongruity of it all, “That bridge is not going to float away.”

Jamie Toole, a local contractor with 43 years of experience in concrete, buildings and retention walls, who worked on the footbridge, was adamant. He said it was “a ridiculous decision. That bridge is unbelievably solid.”

All those pilings go to bedrock, he explained.

“So, those piles are driven right to the back of God’s head. That bridge isn’t going anywhere.”

Over the busy summer weekend, with no safe alternative, the bright orange barricades warded off only a few people.

Children fished off the bank, instead of the bridge, and some visitors were held to the streets. Others just skirted the barricades and kept walking with their dogs, cameras or ice cream cones.

The bikers were at a bit of a loss, and were grateful when a local resident moved one of the barricades. Serious fisher people used their rods off of the railway bridge, the most dangerous detour of all.

By Sunday, it seemed the barricades were pretty much ignored.

Lawrie Crawford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Yukon News

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